Mick Little has witnessed first hand the affects of trauma.
After 18 years as a policeman he has experienced more anguish than most.
The former Royal Australian Navy officer is now finding a creative way to deal with the past.
After being introduced to art therapy through the Warrnambool RSL veterans' support centre, the self-taught painter is hosting the first veterans exhibition.
"The walls at the RSL were blank downstairs," Mr Little said. "I offered to paint something to fill the space.
"I'm a crime scene officer with Victoria Police.
"Obviously I go to a lot of tragic and traumatic scenes and painting is a way of mindfulness.
"I paint and it keeps my thoughts on something else besides the bad things."
South West Arts in Health art therapist Phil Jones who assisted Mr Little with his painting said healing through art was a proven science.
"There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows art therapy can assist in dealing with trauma," Mr Jones said.
"Traumatic memories are stored in the limbic system and often working with art can access or reprocess that area.
"Obviously it is different for everyone but once people have got over the stigma, many would find great healing and relief through creative means."
RSL veterans support centre manager Deidre Bidmade said she hoped Mr Little's was the first of many veterans exhibitions.
"We'd love to see many more exhibitions from our veterans, whether it is photography or art or whatever they use as a creative expression."
Mr Little's eight artworks which all share a nautical and police theme will be on display at the RSL until mid-April.
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